Pope Francis has appointed a former Vietnamese refugee who arrived in Australia by boat as a teenager as the new bishop of Parramatta.
Bishop Vincent Long Van Nguyen OFM Conv, who came to Australia in 1980, succeeds Archbishop Anthony Fisher as head of the diocese.
The Conventual Franciscan and former auxiliary bishop of Melbourne said he was honoured and humbled.
“This appointment comes with great care for the people of Parramatta and for the Church locally,” Bishop Long said.
His immediate priority was to get to know the diocese’s clergy and faithful.
“Coming to Australia by boat as a refugee from Vietnam, I found myself a newcomer in Melbourne.
“I now consider myself a newcomer to the diocese of Parramatta.
“I know I’ll be enriched by the many cultures that make up Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains.”
The resident of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, Archbishop Denis Hart, welcomed the appointment,
“After distinguished leadership in the Conventual Franciscans, Bishop Vincent Long van Nguyen has been auxiliary bishop in Melbourne since 2011, working as a gifted and compassionate pastor, Episcopal Vicar and chair of the Victorian Catholic Education Commission.”
He said the bishop’s “Christ-like gifts and simplicity will serve the people of his new diocese so well”.
Bishop Long was born on 3 December 1961 in Gia-Kiem, the fourth in a family of five boys and two girls.
In 1972, he joined the diocesan minor seminary which was later disbanded by the communist Government.
In 1980 he left Vietnam to begin a new life in Australia, and became a Conventual Franciscan friar in 1983.
After studying for the priesthood in Melbourne, Bishop Long was ordained on 30 December, 1989.
He was elected Superior of Conventual Franciscans in Australia in 2005 and appointed as assistant general of the same order and transferred to Rome in 2008.
Bishop Long was appointed auxiliary bishop of Melbourne on 20 May, 2011.
The diocese of Parramatta has been vacant since 18 September, 2014.